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Old 08-06-2008, 07:27 PM   #1
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Big power hog- the vacuum


Hi;
At first, I thought I was being a little obsessive when I started planning for a new receptacle in the upstairs hall, to be used mainly for the vacuum cleaner.
But when I looked at the rating of my Kenmore model, I found that it draws almost 9A without, and over 12A with the power floor brush.

I don't think a lot of homeowners realize that the vacuum is such a heavy user of electricity, but with these big canister machines, they are advertized by the amps, more being better.

So... my plan for a new receptacle on a 20A branch using #12 wire and not having much else to share that branch with are reasonable after all.

As it is, we have had the breaker pop when using the vacuum downstairs, until I traced the circuit and found it to be sharing a 15A branch with the dehumidifier and refrigerator in the basement.
I have since rewired that branch.

Another appliance that is a huge power hog is our 4 slice toaster. With both handles (it's 2x2) down, it draws a whopping 17A!
I checked this out when I was adding circuits to the kitchen. I decided on two 20A lines rather than just one when I read the toaster's rating plate.

I suppose that this is why it is highly recommended to put each kitchen receptacle on it's own 20A branch (with GFCI if near the sink).

You would think we would have found a way to make perfect toast in our microwave ovens by now <g>

FW

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Old 08-06-2008, 08:05 PM   #2
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Big power hog- the vacuum


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Originally Posted by fw2007 View Post
I suppose that this is why it is highly recommended to put each kitchen receptacle on it's own 20A branch (with GFCI if near the sink).
It's actually not "highly recommended" to put EACH kitchen receptacle on it's own circuit. This would be kind of crazy, no?

Again, it all boils down to experience and common sense. I typically keep it to no more than 3 or 4 kitchen counter receptacles on a circuit. I also have no problem putting a few DR receptacles on with a kitchen counter circuit. I find DR receptacles rarely get used for what they are really intended (hot plates and such).
Keep in mind, receptacles in a kitchen area, including DR, nook, pantry, even the refer, can ALL be on the two required small appliance branch circuits. This of course is absurd in the average US kitchen.

Also, the old "near the sink" GFI requirement is long gone. ALL receptacles serving kitchen counter areas must be GFI protected nowadays.

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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:19 PM   #3
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Big power hog- the vacuum


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It's actually not "highly recommended" to put EACH kitchen receptacle on it's own circuit. This would be kind of crazy, no?

Again, it all boils down to experience and common sense. I typically keep it to no more than 3 or 4 kitchen counter receptacles on a circuit. I also have no problem putting a few DR receptacles on with a kitchen counter circuit. I find DR receptacles rarely get used for what they are really intended (hot plates and such).
Keep in mind, receptacles in a kitchen area, including DR, nook, pantry, even the refer, can ALL be on the two required small appliance branch circuits. This of course is absurd in the average US kitchen.

Also, the old "near the sink" GFI requirement is long gone. ALL receptacles serving kitchen counter areas must be GFI protected nowadays.
OK, maybe I exaggerated that point, but in Rex Cauldwell's "Wiring a House..." 3rd ed, he talks about code, and then "above code".
For the kitchen, he recommends using the two NEC mandated 20A lines for the counter alone, and bringing in one additional 20A line for the wall receptacles.

In my kitchen, I have two 20A lines for the counter, all GFCI protected.
My counter is very small, but there are two receptacles on the counter, and another on the other side of the stove, which is wired to one of the counter outlets.

In the dinette part of the kitchen, there was originally one 20A outlet that is a dedicated line.
We have a large AC unit on that wall, a microwave, and the toaster. I decided that I wanted to have each on it's own line, so I brought in two more 20A lines running to two more duplex outlets. So there are three duplex outlets on the wall, and each is a 20A decicated line.

The counter is too small for the microwave and the toaster, so we have them on stands in the dinette area.

I originally had the microwave plugged into the outlet next to the stove, but it required an extension cord. While I always use heavy duty cords (#14 or larger) for such appliances, I am completely against using them on a permanent basis. There wasn't any way I could rearrange the appliances, so I had to bring in more power.

To complicate matters, bringing in these new circuits required me to get into a crawl space under that part of the kitchen (no basement for the last 6' of the kitchen).
Since it was so much trouble and so unpleasant to work down there, I wanted to "future-proof" the job.

If ever we don't need the heavy current in that corner, I can always add more receptacles to the 20A breakers.

Now I've just brought up one new 20A line upstairs, and for now it goes only to one outlet, and that outlet is powering my computer<g>.
I already have another cable running to the box, ready to connect more outlets, but just haven't got around to it.
I have a window AC in the room, but it draws only 5A, so I should be able to put it on the same line with my computer<g>.
I just didn't want to put the outlet in the hall on the same circuit as the AC, because with the AC and the vacuum running, the total draw would be 17A, plus the computer, which is probably 3A, so we are already at 20A.
That is why I am bringing up a second 20A line, which will power the outlet in the hall, and several others.

The way I look at it, it's better to have too light a load on a circuit, than having problems with overload and the breakers tripping often. I can always add more to the under-used branches. I even leave a loop of cable in certain areas where I think I may want to rewire or add an outlet, so the cable is right there, and all I have to do is cut it, and splice in the outlet box.

You mentioned DR receptacles.
For a long time, we had a window AC unit in the DR window. Problem was, that outlet was on an overloaded circuit, and the breaker started to trip once we had the panel replaced.
It never used to trip with the old Federal Pacific breakers, but when we had the CH installed, it started tripping when the AC and vacuum were used together.
Thing is, the FP breakers were lousy, and a 15A would not trip for over an hour at 20A load!!

The other DR outlets are rarely used, except for the vacuum.
That is why I had to rewire them, so the don't share a circuit with the appliances in the basement.

Sorry I get a bit loooong sometimes.

FW
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